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Be the next Instagram

By now, most of you have heard about the acquistion of Instagram (Instant Telegram) by Facebook for US$ 1 billion. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook said the acquisition is another milestone for the company and providing the best photo-sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook, and he knew it would be worth bringing Instagram and Facebook together.

Instagram is a fun & quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your iPhone, then choose a filter to transform the look and feel of the shot into a memory to keep around forever. In other words, its a simple photo-sharing app made exclusively for mobile phones.

Instagram founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, saw it coming – the explosion of the smartphones equipped with cameras. With the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, it’s a no-brainer that people will take pictures using their smartphones and share it with their friends. So what will the users look for? A good photo-sharing app that will enable them not just to share it but to do some effects as well.

Instagram was launched October 6, 2010. In its initial 24 hours, Instagram got 25,000 users. In its 3rd week, it grew to 300,000. To date, there are 40 million Instagram users. Instagram was recently released on the Android platform and the app saw 5 million downloads in its first 5 days on Google Play. At its current pace, it won’t be surprising that Instagram would reach 60 million users in a couple of more months.

Barely 18 months in operation, with only 13 employees and no revenue – Instagram became InstaRich with the US$1 billion Facebook acquisition. Not bad for an 18 month work right?

So what’s the secret formula behind Instagram’s success? Of course, hardwork, patience, brilliance and networking – meeting and talking to the right people. In his talk at Stanford, Kevin Systrom said “Success is as much about who you know as what you know. Make sure to spend some time after the talk getting to know the people around you.”

Aside from having the right application for a booming mobile market, Kevin made sure to spend time talking to people he meets during parties or any gatherings. For Kevin believes the people you meet might one day shape your future. They might give you a valuable idea. They might infuse some capital into your projects. Or just be there when you needed them. True enough, the very first people who invested in the Instagram project were the ones Kevin met.

Kevin met Mr. D’Angelo who helped him find engineers to set up database and eventually invested into Instagram. Kevin also met Mr. Jack Dorsey, a founder of Twitter, who introduced Kevin to Marc Anderseen who happens to be a venture capitalist and an investor of Facebook. Marc shared the vision of Kevin, wrote a check worth $250,000 even before Instagram was born. That’s networking for you in full swing.

Rumors are circulating that the reason why Facebook decided to acquire Instagram is to prevent a potential competitor. Regardless of the reason, Facebook now owns Instagram. Had they not offered to buy Instagram, it will just be a matter of time when offers will come from all sides, from companies like Twitter, Microsoft and Google. Let’s just say Facebook beat the gun on their competition. Not to mention they have the money as well.

So just how rich is Facebook? The company is now valued at $104 billion. Facebook is worth more than LinkedIn, Twitter, Groupon and Zynga combined. In 2011, Facebook booked a profit of $1 billion on $3.7 billion in revenue.

Now why am I writing about this Facebook – Instagram acquition? Simple – to inspire our young Filipino developers to come up with great applications, which can become the next Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram. Is it possible? Yes. I always believe that no one has a monopoly of great ideas. We, Filipinos, are full of talents. We, Filipinos, won the first Google Map Maker Global Competition. We also won the Facebook ‘hackathon’ in Singapore. Believe me we can do it.

We just need to put our acts together. Be more focused and diligent. Gather the right group of people, be more observant on what people need. Learn the right skills and you will be successful very soon. We have private companies supporting such efforts. Private companies provides funding, free training and even free laboratories for would-be technoprenuers to try out their wares. So the ingredients are all there, its a matter of making the recipe and cook it so to speak.

This is one talent that we Filipinos possessed and no can take it. I sincerely hope our government will realize this and start throwing their support as well.

I am logging off. Stay cool and God Bless!

(Article written by Jerry Liao)

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